NKorea says it will speed up nuke program in response to US

Author

03 May, 2017

In an analysis piece published on Sunday by U.S. think tank the Brookings Institution, Fu Ying, chairwoman of the National People's Congress' Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was unrealistic to expect the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to succumb to pressure of sanctions or collapse.

"If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honoured to do it", Bloomberg News quoted Trump.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Washington and Pyongyang need to take concrete steps toward peace and avoid further escalating a crisis that has quickly spiraled into a top global security concern.

In a show of force, the U.S. has sent the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group to waters off the Korean peninsula to join drills with South Korea to counter a series of threats of destruction from North Korea. Doing so will mark an unprecedented and powerful diplomatic gesture, one that North Korea will know they won't likely ever get again.

She also repeated Beijing's call for a "double suspension" - that Pyongyang suspend its nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a halt of large scale US-South Korean military exercises.

It marked the latest fluctuation as Mr Trump's administration struggles to articulate its policy for addressing the growing threat from North Korea's nuclear programme.

Trump is hoping China can pressure the North into a peaceful denuclearization.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer later said any such meeting would have to follow a significant change of behaviour by North Korea.

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However, in a separate interview with Bloomberg Monday Trump said he was willing to meet with Kim under certain circumstances, though he was vague about what those circumstances were.

Trump's suggestion of admiration for Kim, however, is something entirely new.

Trump stunned politicians and pundits when he complimented Kim in an interview with CBS that aired Sunday.

Also Monday, Spicer defended Trump's decision to extend an invitation for a White House meeting to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has presided over a violent crackdown on drug-related crime that human rights groups say has left more than 7,000 people dead.

Though White House aides separately downplayed the likelihood of an unprecedented face-to-face meeting between a US president and North Korean leader, Trump said he "would absolutely" consider it "under the right circumstances".

The deputy ambassador to the UN, Kim In Ryong, hit back at Mr Tillerson and insisted its nuclear weapons would never be part of "political bargains and economic deals".

Despite pivotal elections in South Korea next week, Pompeo has no plans to meet with any of the presidential candidates.

China demanded on Tuesday an immediate halt to a controversial USA missile shield hours after Washington announced that the defence system was now operational in South Korea.


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